Brouwerij Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée René (2017) – Gueuze at 6% ABV

Brouwerij Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée René (2017) Gueuze at 6% ABV (C$5.79 at NLC Stavanger, 375 ml, best before 19-Nov-2023, acquired 27-Aug-2018, reviewed 28-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with a short white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: barnyard funk, tart apple, wheat, white grape must. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, prickly carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

I don’t usually bring price into these things, but much as with their Kriek, Lindemans has crafted a true Belgian example of the style at an extremely competitive price. Except for buying Cantillon at the brewery, there are precious few Gueuze – or, indeed, Wilds of any sort – that even come close to the bang-for-buck performance of this. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. Wild Cove Old World Pub Ale – English Brown Ale at 5.7% ABV | 35 IBU

Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. Wild Cove Old World Pub Ale English Brown Ale at 5.7% ABV | 35 IBU (Gift – thanks, Blanche!, 946 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 27-Aug-2018, reviewed 27-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with a short off-white head diminishing gradually to a thing cap and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel & toffee, smoke, toasted malt, butterscotch. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: moderate body, moderate carbonation, medium duration slightly smoky finish. (3/5)

Not entirely convinced. I had this a couple of months ago, out at the cabin, and was a little more generous scoring-wise than I feel tonight. (That’s not entirely unexpected, given the typical behaviour out at the cabin.) However, I’m puzzled by the prominent smoky note I’m getting here now, that was apparently completely absent the last time I had this. Or, at least, that I completely failed to discern. (Again, entirely possible, out at the cabin.) It isn’t terrible, and it sort of grew on me, but it had a big hole to dig out of after the initial “what the serious hell is THAT” moment I had upon first smelling it. One thing it very much isn’t is what it says on the label: the only “old world” pubs that would have an ale like this would be ones that served Rauchbiers, so classifying this as an English Brown is misleading at best. It’s not terrible, but that’s hardly the ringing endorsement you look for in a tipple, is it? (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Port Rexton Brewing Company Baycation Blonde – Blond Ale at 4.7% ABV

Port Rexton Brewing Company Baycation Blonde Blond Ale at 4.7% ABV (C$7.83 at Port Rexton Brewing Company, 950 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Aug-2018, reviewed 25-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, citrus, grainy malt, Belg-ish dusty esters, light DMS. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: moderate-light body, low carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

I don’t usually give grief for low carbonation on a growler fill, but this one was filled at their retail outlet less than two hours ago. I’m sure it would be better with higher carbonation but as it stands it drops off a bit flat and watery. The hint of sulphur on the nose isn’t helping much, either. All in all, a pretty unremarkable Blond. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Kronenbourg (Carlsberg) 1664 Blanc Fruits Rouge – Witbier at 4.5% ABV

Kronenbourg (Carlsberg) 1664 Blanc Fruits Rouge Witbier at 4.5% ABV (C$2.25 at NLC Stavanger, 330 ml, best before 1-Nov-2018, acquired 23-Aug-2018, reviewed 23-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy pinkish peach with one finger of creamy white head , good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: raspberry, red berries, wheat, citrus. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (6/10) Palate: moderate-light slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

I only bought it for the Missus, because she likes the standard Blanc, and had very little in the way of expectations – but it could be worse. I mean, yeah, it’s Carlsberg, and the fruit character definitely seems more like purée than anything else, but on the up side, it’s not overly sweet, and it is refreshing. Good one for a hot day. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

 

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Iceberg – American Pale Lager at 4.5% ABV | 3 IBU

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Iceberg American Pale Lager at 4.5% ABV | 3 IBU (C$2.83 at NLC Stavanger, 341 ml, packaged on 14-Aug-2018, acquired 23-Aug-2018, reviewed 23-Aug-2018)

Appearance: clear pale straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal lacing. (2/5) Aroma: mild, grainy malt, grass, slight DMS. (4/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (5/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

Very firmly in the “cold and wet” classification. The “20,000 year old iceberg water” is an obvious marketing gimmick, as is the clear blue glass bottle. (Not that it doesn’t work, mind you: they routinely have to appeal to customers to return their empties because they don’t have enough bottles on hand to do a run.) Other than the marketing, there’s little to distinguish this from any number of other Pale Lagers. I bought this as fresh as possible, in a six-pack in a cooler, so as to minimize the chance of it getting light-struck through the clear glass, so this is pretty much as good as it gets. That is, marginally better than a mass-market macro adjunct Lager. (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company Lemon Shandy – Radler at 4.2% ABV

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company Lemon Shandy Radler at 4.2% ABV (C$3.49 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Aug-2018, reviewed 23-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy near-opaque pale gold with one fat finger of creamy white head, excellent retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: lemon, sweet wheat malt, faint grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low tart, mild bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (4/5)

Well… it’s certainly not great, but I was surprised by how decent it actually was. This might be the same as their “Summer Shandy”, but I don’t think so – I found the Summer Shandy to be a little too sweet, while this one is actually fairly restrained. That, or I was just way more thirsty when I drank this one, with the combination of a surprisingly hot late summer day and cleaning the house for sale/move. Either way, a solid, not-too-sweet, not-too-alcoholic midday thirst quencher, whose only downside is very little beer character. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Four Winds Brewing Co. Wildflower – Saison at 6.5% ABV | 30 IBU

Four Winds Brewing Co. Wildflower Saison at 6.5% ABV | 30 IBU (C$15.99 at Oak & Vine, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Feb-2018, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 20-Aug-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with three (growing!) fingers of billowy white head, excellent retention and clingy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: dry funk, lemon zest, stone fruit, bready yeast, floral, tea. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light peppery spice. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry lightly spicy finish. (5/5)

This thing desperately wanted to turn into a gusher. That, and the dry funky tart aroma, made me think that it had been inoculated with Brettanomyces, but it appears not. (Though, I suppose unintentional infection is entirely possible, especially since they actually do brew a Brett Saison.) Really, my only complaint about this is my perennial one, of overly-enthusiastic malt bills for Saisons leading to excessive ABV’s: I’m an inveterate boozer and I guarantee you there is zero chance I’d be able to remain vertical after five litres of this a day, let alone work the fields! As far as the name goes, I dunno: yeah, there’s floral notes there, but I’d hesitate to call it “wildflower” – Grandma’s bedroom, more like, with lavender and chamomile carrying the day on the back end. All of those piddly objections aside, this is an exceptional beer, and one that would probably cellar well for a fairly lengthy period – too bad I bought only the one. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brauerei Fahr Fahr Fetched Experiment (Amarillo) – Hefeweizen at 5.3% ABV | 20 IBU

Brauerei Fahr Fahr Fetched Experiment (Amarillo) Hefeweizen at 5.3% ABV | 20 IBU (C$4.99 at Oak & Vine, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 20-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with three fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and clingy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: banana, bubblegum, doughy pale malt, clove, floral, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light peppery spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter spicy finish. (4/5)

Well, it might be Fahr Fetched, but it’s not very far-fetched – certainly not to the point of being classifiable as a Hopfenweisse. On the nose, at least, this is a full-on Hefe: big banana and bubblegum, with not a whole lot of hop character. And, I can’t say I’m surprised, since Fahr is so very traditional German in character. Personally, I would call this a very mild deviation form the normal hop profile, while German purists might be spluttering in indignation. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing IPA Kolata (Batch #003) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing IPA Kolata (Batch #003) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$6.70 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Aug-2018, reviewed 19-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and spotty soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coconut, pineapple, lactose, faint caramel malt and citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I have great respect for both Mikkel and Jeppe, but it’s right there in the name: “Evil” Twin. There are some breweries whose products I can safely assume will be predictably good. There are others who generally do very good (indeed, spectacular) things, but occasionally fumble the ball fairly badly – Perfect Matcha, need I say more? Not, I hasten to add, is Mikkel immune to such issues, but if you’re gonna call yourself the evil twin, you’ve gotta expect a certain amount of blowback. (Even more interesting is when collaborations between two such breweries can have both results – I’m looking at you, Rainbownade 👍👍 and Coffeenade 👎👎!) So, fair to say, I had no idea what facet of the evil twin was going to be on display here. And yet, I had reason to hope based on the name alone, being somewhat of a fan of Piña Coladas… And of making love at midnight – or really, any time, while we’re at it – though not so much of getting caught in the rain, but that’s been less of a concern once I started shaving my head.

And yes, all of that nonsense was written before the first sip. We can safely move on to the beer, I guess. Sooo… yeah. Lots of coconut, pineapple, and lactose, precisely as promised by the label. I’m kind of vaguely disappointed, but hell if I could tell you why. Maybe because this so strongly resembles a Piña Colada, without much beer character at all? Though, now that I think about it, it’s about the same strength as a Piña Colada, if not more, for about half the price per volume. Yeah, OK, fine, I approve. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Periwinkle Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Periwinkle Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.70 at Collective, 650 ml, packaged on 7-Jun-2018, acquired 14-Aug-2018, reviewed 19-Aug-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (5/5) Aroma: resiny pine, caramel, mint, grapefruit & citrus, herbal. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter minty finish. (4/5)

I have the sinking feeling I might have to take the blame for this name. Right about two years ago (almost to the day!) I reviewed Cerulean Dragon and said Seriously? “Cerulean” Dragon? You don’t think that particular well has run dry yet? What’s next, “Periwinkle” Dragon? Then, this June, Lacey Cropley of Alley Kat posted a comment on that review, announcing the release of this.

I’m so sorry.

Well, I am and I’m not. I previously opined that this series was actually getting better, not worse: the prior four I reviewed were, in order, 7, 7.5, 8, and 8.5. While this one isn’t a clear improvement over the last one, it’s at least not fallen off a cliff. This is a pretty old school DIPA, with resiny pine at the forefront, and I have absolutely no problem with that. I haven’t had a lot of Eureka hops, but I have to say, the mint is an interesting little addition. All in all, I’m happy to say this is near the top of the series. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com